Why Assassin Fantasy Novels Are More Relevant Now Than Ever

Explore why assassin fantasy novels resonate more than ever. Dive into themes of morality, power, rebellion, and the appeal of anti-heroes in today’s world.

The modern world: a buzzing hive of social media influencers, political circus acts, and an ongoing debate about whether pineapple belongs on pizza (it does, fight me).

Amidst all this chaos, you might be wondering, “Why in seven hells should I be reading about fictional characters who make a living by, well, ending lives?”

The answer is simple: because assassin fantasy novels are more relevant now than ever, my dear friends. And no, it’s not just because you’ve imagined hiring one for your noisy neighbour.

A Reflection of Our Complex Morality

Ah, morality—more fluid than a pint of ale in a tavern.

Assassins are a manifestation of our own moral complexity.

Are they heroes or villains?

Liberators or mercenaries?

A bit like the modern corporate world, they exist in a grey area, and it’s not just the colour of their cloaks.

The Ultimate Power Fantasy

Let’s face it, we all fancy a bit of control in our lives, especially when the world seems to be going off the rails faster than a London Underground service during a strike.

The assassin, the master manipulator of fate, allows us to live out this power fantasy, all from the risk-free comfort of our reading nooks.

Catharsis Through Chaos

The world is a dumpster fire, and sometimes what you need is to watch someone else set a blaze that they control impeccably.

The skill and precision of a fictional assassin can offer a bizarre comfort.

It’s chaos, but it’s organized chaos.

The Appeal of the Anti-Hero

In an era where every other news headline makes you want to throw your phone into the Thames, there’s something incredibly appealing about characters who operate outside the law, buck the system, and stab corruption in the face.

And goody-two-shoes characters, you’re so last century.

We’re living in the age of the anti-hero. The more flawed, the better.

And who’s more flawed than someone who’s literally killing for a living, yet you can’t help but root for them?

The Relevance of Rebellion

Whether it’s fighting against a tyrannical regime, or exposing shadowy conspiracies, the themes of rebellion and fighting against the ‘Man’ resonate now more than ever.

It’s like ‘V for Vendetta,’ but with more backflips and less political subtlety.

Social Commentary with a Side of Stabbing

Many assassin novels delve into issues of class struggle, political unrest, and social inequality, all wrapped up in a cloak of daggers and poisons.

It’s like reading a think piece, only with more action and fewer footnotes.

The Art of Escape

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, assassin fantasy novels offer escapism.

In a world where doom-scrolling has become a pastime, sometimes it’s nice to switch gears and scroll through doom of a different kind—a kind where you can close the book and say, “Well, at least I’m not being hunted by a magical, brooding killer.”

So, the next time someone scoffs at your reading choices, just tell them you’re engaging in a timely sociopolitical critique.

After all, assassin fantasy novels are not just a guilty pleasure; they’re a reflection of our collective id, a mirror to our own chaos.

High Fantasy: Not Just Escapism, But A Gateway To Reality

“I never saw fairy tales as an escape or a cop-out… On the contrary, speaking for myself, it is the way to understand reality.”

– Lloyd Alexander

Ah, high fantasy. A realm filled with magical beasts, valiant heroes, and enough mythical creatures to make a zoologist’s head spin.

At first glance, it’s tempting to dismiss these tales as mere flights of fancy, a form of escapism from the dreary realities of everyday life. But hold your sceptical horses, because there’s more to high fantasy than meets the eye.

In fact, these epic tales often reveal profound insights into the human experience, addressing themes that resonate deeply with our own reality.

So, before you scoff at the next person you see buried in a tome thicker than a London fog, let’s take a moment to appreciate the richness and relevance of high fantasy.

A Mirror Held Up To Humanity

High fantasy, like all great literature, is often a reflection of the world in which it was created.

The fantastical settings and characters serve as a canvas upon which the author can explore universal issues and themes.

For example, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series explores themes of power, corruption, and sacrifice, while George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire explores complex political intrigue and moral ambiguity.

By exploring these themes through the lens of an alternate reality, high fantasy allows us to confront difficult questions, such as the nature of good and evil, the role of power in society, and the consequences of our actions, in a safe and engaging way.

In other words, while high fantasy may whisk us away to a land filled with dragons and sorcery, it can also bring us face-to-face with the very real challenges that define our existence.

An Exercise In Empathy

One of the most powerful aspects of high fantasy is its ability to immerse us in the lives and struggles of its characters.

By stepping into the shoes of an orphan farm boy, valiant knight, or mythical creature, we are forced to confront the world from an entirely new perspective.

This exercise in empathy is particularly important in today’s increasingly polarised and intolerant world. (Don’t worry, I’m not going too political here).

Take, for example, the plight of the elves in Tolkien’s Middle-earth, or the complex social hierarchy of the various species in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

Through these narratives, we are encouraged to examine our own prejudices and to consider the experiences of those who are different from us. In the process, we cultivate a deeper understanding of the human condition and a greater appreciation for the diversity that makes our world so rich and fascinating.

A Call To Adventure

Finally, high fantasy serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of adventure, courage, and perseverance in the face of adversity.

The heroes and heroines of these tales are often ordinary individuals who are called upon to undertake extraordinary quests, facing insurmountable odds along the way. (I’m sure now would be the perfect time to mention that you can read the complete Orphan Farm Boy of Destiny serial for free on Substack @joncronshawauthor, but I won’t do that).

These narratives inspire us to tap into our own inner reserves of strength and bravery, encouraging us to push beyond the boundaries of our comfort zones and to embrace the unknown.

In this way, high fantasy is not a form of escapism, but rather an invitation to engage more fully with the world and to confront the challenges that lie ahead with hope and determination.

So, the next time you encounter a fellow reader engrossed in the pages of a high fantasy novel, resist the urge to dismiss their literary choice as mere escapism.

Instead, remember that these stories hold the power to teach us valuable lessons about ourselves, our world, and the human experience.

Through the pages of high fantasy, we can explore universal themes, cultivate empathy, and embrace the spirit of adventure that lies within all of us.

Far from being a refuge from reality, high fantasy serves as a gateway to a deeper understanding of the world we inhabit.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a wyvern to train and a kingdom to save, and this cup of tea isn’t going to drink itself.

Why Epic Fantasy Matters: A Look at its Influence and Importance

Explore the captivating world of epic fantasy, its influence, and cultural impact. Discover why readers find these fantastical realms so enthralling. Dive into the power of storytelling and the inspiration it ignites. Join the newsletter for a free Ravenglass Universe starter library.

Ah, epic fantasy. That marvellous genre that transports us from the mundanity of everyday life to realms where dragons soar, dark lords brood, and heroes embark on grand adventures.

But what exactly is it about these fantastical worlds that readers across the globe find so enthralling?

Today, we shall take a look at the influence and importance of epic fantasy, a genre that has inspired generations to dream of the impossible.  

Escaping the Rain, One Page at a Time

Let’s face it, the weather in the UK can be a bit dreich (that’s Scottish for ‘dreary’, for those not in the know). As the rain patters on our windows (and not to mention whatever’s going on this week in the news), we can’t help but long for a bit of escapism. And what better way to do so than by diving into a world where the sun shines bright, the grass is always green, and the only rain that falls is the sort that fuels the growth of magical plants?

Epic fantasy provides us with the perfect portal to such worlds. We can traverse the vast deserts of Arrakis, scale the heights of the Misty Mountains, or even hitch a ride on a dragon as we leave the drizzle behind. And the best part? We can do it all from the comfort of our own homes, with a nice cuppa tea in hand.  

Inspiring the Next Generation of Adventurers (and Authors)

Epic fantasy has an uncanny ability to ignite our imaginations. Many of us remember the thrill of reading The Hobbit or The Chronicles of Narnia for the first time, our minds filled with images of daring quests and magical realms.

These tales of heroism and enchantment have a lasting impact, inspiring countless readers to embark on their own creative journeys. In fact, some of the most successful authors in recent years have been heavily influenced by epic fantasy. From George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire to Patrick Rothfuss’s The Kingkiller Chronicle, these works owe a great debt to the fantasy classics that came before them.

And let’s not forget the legions of fan fiction writers who have honed their craft by exploring the worlds of their favourite stories.  Who knows, perhaps the next Brandon Sanderson is currently scribbling away, inspired by the very books they once devoured as a child.  

Not Just for Dreamers: Epic Fantasy’s Cultural Impact

Epic fantasy is not merely a source of entertainment—it has also had a significant impact on modern culture. From fashion to architecture, the influence of these fantastical worlds can be seen in various aspects of our daily lives. Take, for example, the surge in popularity of medieval-themed events like renaissance faires and LARP (live action role-playing) sessions.  These gatherings allow enthusiasts to don the garb of knights and wizards, effectively bringing their favourite fantasy worlds to life. Meanwhile, the architectural designs of buildings like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and New Zealand’s Hobbiton showcase the genre’s impact on construction and design. In short, epic fantasy has shaped not only our imaginations but also the very world we live in.  

One World to Rule Them All (or Unite Them, At Least)

In today’s increasingly fractured world, epic fantasy serves as a unifying force (so long as you stay away from some of more extreme fan groups on Reddit). It transcends cultural barriers, as readers from different backgrounds can bond over their shared love for these tales. In this sense, the genre serves as a reminder of our shared humanity, a testament to the power of storytelling to bring people together. So, the next time you curl up with a hefty tome of epic fantasy, just remember—you’re not merely indulging in a spot of escapism. You’re partaking in a grand tradition that has sparked creativity, shaped culture, and united people from all walks of life. And that is a story worth celebrating.

If you love epic fantasy as much as I do, you can get the Ravenglass Universe starter library for free when you join my newsletter. https://subscribepage.com/ravenglassuniverse

Discover the Enchanting Fantasy World of Helen Garraway: An Author Interview

Discover the captivating world of fantasy author Helen Garraway as she shares her inspirations, writing process, and the magic behind her acclaimed novels. Dive into a literary journey filled with adventure and imagination.

Step into the world of fantasy with author Helen Garraway as she shares her inspirations, writing process, and the themes she explores in her captivating novels.

In this interview, Helen discusses her love for fantasy and how she crafts intricate worlds and characters that resonate with readers. Join us on this literary journey that delves into the essence of fantasy storytelling.

 Get ready to discover a new author and be transported to realms filled with adventure, magic, and unforgettable tales.

So grab yourself a cuppa and embark on an enchanting adventure with this talented fantasy author.

What inspired you to start writing in the fantasy genre?

I wrote what I love to read. My favourite genre is fantasy and I love world building. I came up with the idea behind the Sentinals series while walking through local woods. I wondered what tales the trees could tell since they had stood there for up to hundred years, if not more. And then I thought what if they could talk, and that led to what if there were people in the trees, and so was born the Sentinals series.

I was at a crossroads in my life, big changes, and I suddenly had time on my hands, and so I began writing, a creative dam was released and out poured seven books! I have gradually been working my way through them, editing, polishing and self publishing them.

How do you approach world-building in your stories?

With the Sentinals series it grew as I wrote each book. Each book is set in a different land, and the terrain and environment contributes to the plot and atmosphere. With the importance of woods and trees, the first country was like the leafy shires I live in the UK. Plenty of water, rain or rivers and plenty of greenery. I didn’t want to explain or describe technology, so my world was a no-to-low technology world and then that led to what was possible. Out of that grew the history of the world, the political and religious structure, and then the conflicts.

For the SoulMist series my starting point was light and dark, the land of angels was sunny and bright,  the land of the soulless was dim and grim. The environment and atmosphere were driven by that starting point, but as the first line says ‘Not all that was good was in the light; there was good in the dark too, if you bothered to look.’ And then I wanted to play with the idea of prejudice and assumptions. Why should the shadowy world be bad just because they were in the shadows? And off you go!

Can you walk us through your writing process?

Well, I could try. I am a bit spontaneous! Though the more I write, the more I have become a planner. I know where I’m starting and where I want to end, the middle can end up a surprise! I tend to write scenes in isolation. As I think of them, I have to capture the idea before I forget it, and then slot them into the timeline after. The most frustrating part is when a scene pops into your head for a different book when you’re trying to finish off another. Distractions happen all the time for writers, sometimes I think it is amazing we actually finish a book!

Would you survive in your own fantasy world?

Yes, I think so. I would love to sun myself on the beaches of Birtoli, though not so sure about the fish diet!

What themes do you explore in your work?

At the heart of my Sentinals story is the chosen one, a person who would never have believed he was the one to save the world, and the fact that he doesn’t have to everything on his own. It is not wrong to ask for expect others to help. He has a supporting cast of wonderful characters which varies from book to book, but reinforce the found family supporting each other no matter the task. There is also a theme of protection, of protecting those who can’t protect themselves, the Sentinals are the guardians, of the people and the land.

What do you consider to be your biggest influences as a writer?

I grew up reading anything I could get my hands on, but my love of fantasy comes from reading David Eddings ‘Belgarion’ and ‘Mallorean’ series. They would be my main influence, followed by Lois Bujold McMasters and her fantasy books. The Curse of Chalion being my favourite, but I also love Space opera, thrillers, historical books, and more, all of which contribute to your writing as you don’t just write a ‘fantasy’ it has romance, action, betrayal, the world has a history, everything feeds into the final story.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve had to research for your stories?

I needed to find natural substances that explode when combined. I didn’t have gunpowder so I was looking for which natural products I could substitute and describe, with it being possible in my world!   Fertilizers can be quite interesting!!

What do you hope readers take away from your stories?

I hope readers manage to escape into a new world and forget their real life. A moment of pure entertainment and escapism. I don’t claim to have any moral high ground, but I hope there is an element of good prevailing over bad, and that we should look after each other and work together for a better life.

Would you rather have a pet dragon or a unicorn, why?

I would love a pet dragon, they are just so beautiful and varied, and I would love to fly!

If you could have any magical ability, what would it be?

To be able to Heal would be amazing, preferably me as well!

If you were stuck on a deserted island with one of your characters, who would it be and why?

It would have to be Birlerion. I love him and he is so resourceful. He’d find a way to get us off the island. I would also have the chance to understand him further, as there is much still hidden and yet to be written about!.

What would you name your pet dragon?

Hmmm! This might change a few times till I get the right name. The one that’s feels just right! I suppose it depends on what he looks like. Keair, maybe… or Keaire (just added an ‘e”) I would play with the letters and sounds and evolve the them into one that feels just right. For example my Arifels, started out as Alfie, the name of my cat as he was the inspiration, and evolved from there.

Where is the best place to start reading your work?

https://geni.us/FNRirThe first book in the epic fantasy Sentinals Series is Sentinals Awaken, though there is a prequel novella Sentinals Stirring where the main characters first meet, it’s a free download, if you sign up to my newsletter, (link on my website http://www.helengarraway.com) or you can purchase it via Amazon. The Sentinal series currently comprises of five books and three novellas.

The first book in the Romantic Fantasy SoulMist series is SoulBreather. I’ve just finished writing the second book, so on to editing.

All my books are on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited. Paperback/Hardcover can be found at the bookstore of your choice, and the first two books of the Sentinals series are available in Audible, with the third currently being narrated.

About the Author:

Helen Garraway is the USA Today Bestselling author of the award-winning epic fantasy Sentinal series which was first published in 2020, followed by the first book of the fantasy romance SoulMist series, SoulBreather, released in 2022 as part of the Realm of Darkness boxset.

An avid reader of many different fiction genres, a love she inherited from her mother, Helen writes fantasy novels and also enjoys paper crafting and scrapbooking as an escape from the pressure of the day job.

Having graduated from the University of Southampton with a Degree in Politics and International Relations, she remains an active member of their alumni.

Find Helen online:

Website: https://www.helengarraway.com.

Everything else: https://linktr.ee/HelenGarraway